Dodd's the Catalyst for Senior Day Success
May 6, 2012
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CHICAGO - Paige Peterson expressed some anxiety earlier in the week about Sunday's Senior Day.
"I'm nervous because we want to send off the seniors with a win," Peterson said.
It was smiles all around as DePaul finished out the regular season with a 5-1 BIG EAST Conference victory over Providence at Cacciatore Stadium that was shortened to five innings because of inclement weather.
DePaul (34-19, 14-8 in the BIG EAST) will open the BIG EAST Championship on Thursday with a 9 a.m. game against USF (45-10, 17-5) at Notre Dame.
"We had a meeting, and there was no option---we were going to win today," said junior Samantha Dodd whose two hits and two RBIs paced DePaul's eight-hit attack. "There's a lot of pressure on the rest of us because we want the seniors feeling good and going out with a win.
"I was just doing what I could to be a catalyst in the game today. I tried to stay aggressive and keep everything going.
"It felt like old times. We are successful when one of us gets a hit, then another and another. This was like the DePaul team that I know."
DePaul's offense came alive in the third inning when Bree Brown led off with a single up the middle. Lynsey Ciezki sacrificed her to second and Dodd drove her home with a double down the left-field line.
With two out, Connolly ripped a single to center that Dodd ducked under on her way to home plate for a 2-1 lead.
The Blue Demons added to their lead in the fourth on Ciezki's RBI single to left that scored Staci Bonezek. Dodd followed with a base hit that drove in Brown. Ciezki came home on a wild pitch for a 5-1 lead.
With Providence at bat in the top of the sixth, a lightning sighting mandated a 30-minute weather delay. With approaching cells of bad weather, the umpires called the game after five innings.
Providence leadoff batter Michelle Huber opened the game with a triple to left field. Jen Abrams placed a bunt single in the unoccupied second base area to drive in Huber for a 1-0 Friars lead.
The loss on Sunday dropped Providence to 17-36, 7-14.
"Hitting is timing, and this is what we're capable of when we bunch the hits together," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "We were going after good pitches and getting good swings at the ball."
It was a Kodak moment when DePaul's lineup was introduced and senior designated player Marla Mathews made her first start of the season. Mathews has been sidelined by a back injury since opening day, and made her first appearance Saturday as a pinch-hitter.
"These seniors all had their share of big moments, and I'll always remember them for the tremendous effort they put forth," Lenti said. "They were always willing to go that extra mile."
Dodd said she will miss the seniors next season.
"The senior class was special to me," Dodd said. "They were definitely great leaders who always put the team ahead of themselves."
NOTES: DePaul will enter the BIG EAST tournament as the No. 5 seed... Sunday's winning pitcher Kirsten Verdun improved to 25-12 on the season and continued her assault on DePaul's single-season records... Verdun is now tied for third in starts, fourth in strikeouts, tied for fourth in innings pitched and tied for fifth in complete games... in addition to Dodd on Sunday, Connolly had two hits and an RBI and Brown was 2-for-2 with two runs scored... Ciezki and Allie Braden each had one hit... Verdun went five innings and allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts and zero walks... Braden has a four-game hitting streak and Connolly has hit safely in the last three... Verdun has reached base safely in her last 12 games and Paige Peterson has been on base seven games in a row.